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Friday, July 14, 2017

Handy Tips to De-Stress your next Family Holiday

Handy tips to destress your next family holiday

Traveling is a lot of fun, opens new perspectives in one’s personality and provides an immense learning experience for all, especially more so for young children. I am sure families are very aware of the positive impact of travel, but are equally scared of the stress that it brings into their lives. This stress ends up either screwing your entire holiday or ends up blowing the finances out of proportion. The below tips and tricks will not only de-stress the entire trip planning and preparation process, but will help you enjoy your family holiday like the way you deserve to.

Holiday Planning

1) Travel Insurance

Flight delays, lost baggage, medical emergencies, et al, can be faced during your family holiday and can cause serious headaches for your entire family if you are not prepared. It is a good practice to know whether your overseas travel insurance plan covers all such contingencies, especially urgent medical help or hospitalization. If not, it is prudent to get a travel insurance plan that works for you and your family.

2) Packing and First Aid Kit

Packing becomes a chore when you are traveling with your family. Either you end up missing some things or you end up lugging the kitchen sink with you. The best way to deal with this is to let your kids pack all their day to day things, while you pack the critical ones like passports, tickets, credit cards, forex, first aid kit, etc. In terms of actual luggage, I would recommend spinning trolleys, a small daypack for valuables and critical essentials and if you have a young baby with you, carry a bag with all baby essentials.

Regarding the actual content of the luggage, look up the weather and plan accordingly. Involve your kids with the weather updates so that they get excited too about their holiday.

3) Attempt to Travel Beyond the Usual

The thing that I have noticed with most traveling families is that they seem to follow a template when it comes to family holiday destinations. While well beaten destinations are safe, there is a whole world out there that also possesses all the ingredients to be a fabulous family destination. With a little bit of planning and some external help, the world is literally your oyster and I mean for your entire family.

4) Involve your Kids in the Planning

The best way to plan a family trip is to delegate planning responsibilities. Tell your kids to choose attractions that they would like to visit. Tell them to plot a map of the city and pin the attractions of the city on it. Give them ideas on how to find the right information. This could be either through books, mobile apps or simply a story from your own experience. Kids love such interactions and this helps increase their excitement meter.

Flying

1) Don’t Rush Through the Airport

With kids, it is always best to have enough buffers in your scheduling. Reach the airport with enough time on hand. Let them soak in the airport experience slowly so that they are calm before flying.

2) Get the Best Seats

If you have young babies, do request for seats close to baby stations. If you have slightly older kids, try and get window seats. If you can, it is best to do this in advance when you web check-in.

3) Plan for On-board Entertainment for Kids

While most flights these days have a wide range of entertainment options, it is best to stay prepared with your kid’s favorite books, TV shows and movies in case you think they can get cranky. You can download all of these on your tablet before you leave home.

4) Take-Off Trouble and other Aircraft Noises

Toddlers struggle with change in air pressure, especially while take-off. Do ensure that you take good care of them, feed them or put them to sleep before the flight takes off. For older kids, be present and communicate with them so that they know how to cope with take-off, seat belts, aircraft noises, et al.

Hotel Stays

1) All inclusive versus just hotels

Both have its pros and cons. Sometimes, all inclusive hotel deals throw in a lot of value for the buck. But, if you are a free flowing family and like to discover the city on your own, you could plan on your own, but this would require additional planning.

2) Kid Friendly Hotels

When selecting hotels, look for any kid-friendly features and amenities that they might have, like a shallow swimming pool, baby swimming pool, arcade club, toys section, etc.

3) Pack some Home Comforts

To make the hotel environment home-like, it is a smart choice to carry some blankets or pillows from home or may be even some of your kid’s favorite toys or books so that they feel comfortable in the alien environment.

Eating and Drinking

1) Allergy, Dress Code and Time Restrictions

Before you head to the restaurant, do remember to check for any dress code or time restrictions as you don’t want to be caught at the wrong end of it. And also get to know if they have any kid-friendly menus or kid entertainment options in their premises.

2) Picnic Meals

A lot of hotels pack picnic breakfast, lunches and brunches so that you can explore the city all morning and afternoon and not have to worry about going hungry or entering expensive restaurants with your family.

3) Restaurants with Kids Entertainment

Every city has lots of restaurants that host entertainment shows for children. Select one of them for your family meal. And do remember to book your table in advance.

Money Tips

1) Set a Trip Budget

It is best to set a budget for your entire trip and stick to it. This holds good for all inclusive holidays too.  Ideally, you should teach all your kids about money and budgeting so that they know how much they can actually spend on the entire trip for shopping, souvenirs, etc..

2) Keep Money for Emergencies

You can never foresee emergencies on a holiday. Someone might fall sick, you might lose your stuff or you might meet with an accident. While a good travel insurance policy does come in super handy in such situations, I would recommend keeping some emergency cash to smoothly tide over such situations.

3) Look out for Cheaper Transportation

A lot of cities offer free shuttles from the airport to the hotel and sometimes even to places of tourist significance. Do remember to find out if the city you are visiting has something like that. Personally, public transportation like metros, buses and trams are the cheapest and most thrilling way to explore the city. And you are away from the taxi and tuk tuk mafia too. In case you are running late or miss your public transport, you can always opt for app based taxi booking services like Uber or Lyft.

Making Memories

1) Keep a Travel Journal

Encourage your kids to document your entire trip, photos, souvenirs and experiences in a travel journal. Tell them that this will help them remember their trip in years gone by. It is also a great project.

2) Send Postcards Home

Even though we are all connected on social media these days, sometimes it is fun to go old school and send postcards home. If your kids participated in this exercise, it would be a lot of fun too. Choosing for postcards is also a great way to know the attractions in your destination.



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